Prewitt enjoys her return to Vicksburg
Published 12:30 am Sunday, June 25, 2017
In the summer of 1979, Cheryl Prewitt was crowned Miss Mississippi. Later that same year, she would go on to become Miss America 1980.
Now after more than 30 years, the Ackerman native returned to Vicksburg and served as the Miss Mississippi Pageant mistress of ceremonies.
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Prewitt said she felt a bit nervous about taking on the role, but said the job had been fun and healing.
“This week has been so much more than I thought it would be. It is almost like coming full circle for me — a healing process in some ways,” Prewitt said, as tears welled up in her eyes.
Not a healing process from the pageant world, she said, but a healing process from a life tragedy.
“I lost my daughter,” Prewitt said, and with this life-altering wound, embracing the pageant world, which is filled with young women, had previously been too painful.
“But for whatever reason,” she said, the week had been easy due to the exceptional group of contestants.
“They are an unusually really pretty group of girls on the inside, and they are pretty on the outside,” Prewitt said, adding that getting to know the young women had been one of the highlights of her week.
“I love getting to share with them that I lost for five years and that all I remember from competing are the good things even though bad things happened,” Prewitt laughed.
“I also told them it doesn’t matter what you think is the worst thing that happened this week, because it might be the best thing. For example, I said, ‘if you fall or you freeze, it is what made you memorable. You all are great, so what’s going to make you stand out sometimes is what you think is the greatest disaster of the week.’”
And if a contestant does not win, Prewitt said she encouraged them to try again.
“I told them they should go for it and go for it and go for it until they win or until they reach the maximum age limit. Being in the Miss Mississippi pageant really does change you,” she said.
“People might think competing makes a girl prideful, it does the opposite. It makes you stronger.”
Prior to the announcement of Friday night’s preliminary winners, Prewitt sang “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” the song she performed the night she was crowned Miss Mississippi. It was also the song she performed during the talent portion of the Miss America Pageant.
Prewitt is married to Harry Salem, II, and the couple travel the world ministering the gospel.
The couple has written more than 35 books and have produced numerous music and ministry CD’s.
In addition to Prewitt’s late daughter, Gabrielle, the couple has two sons, Harry and Roman.